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Six Memos for the Next Millennium

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4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  3,776 Ratings  ·  266 Reviews
Six Memos for the Millennium is a collection of five lectures Italo Calvino was about to deliver at the time of his death. Here is his legacy to us: the universal values he pinpoints become the watchwords for our appreciation of Calvino himself.

What should be cherished in literature? Calvino devotes one lecture, or memo to the reader, to each of five indispensable qualitie
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Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 4th 2009 by Vintage International (first published 1988)
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Antonio Gallo Il libro porta la data del 1985, a distanza di trenta anni abbiamo bisogno proprio di queste cinque realtà esistenziali sulle qualvi vale la pena…moreIl libro porta la data del 1985, a distanza di trenta anni abbiamo bisogno proprio di queste cinque realtà esistenziali sulle qualvi vale la pena riflettere.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Riku Sayuj
Mar 14, 2015 Riku Sayuj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a series of lectures and in each of them Calvino takes it upon himself to recommend to the next millennium a particular literary value which he holds dear, and has tried to embody in his work. That way this book becomes not only a manifesto on how to write but also a guide to interpreting Calvino’s writings.

1) Lightness: not frivolity but a lightness of touch that allows the writer and reader to soar above the paralyzing heaviness of the world.
2) Quickness: the mental speed of the narra
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Simona Bartolotta
Jan 20, 2016 Simona Bartolotta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 1900
(English review at the bottom)

Per spiegarvi perché bisognerebbe leggere questo saggio a tutti, anche a chi di letteratura non gliene importa e non ne mastica, userò una citazione, una soltanto.

Siamo nella prima lezione, Leggerezza. Uno degli emblemi di questo valore per Calvino è il Cavalcanti protagonista della novella VI,9 del Decameron, un personaggio silenzioso, solitario, un personaggio, anche, che all'inizio della novella in questione sembra molte cose, ma non leggero: è un intellettuale,
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Forrest
Jul 23, 2014 Forrest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let's start with the fact that Italo Calvino is one of my favorite writers of all time. His crystalline surrealism, easy tone (at least in translation), and whimsical subjects (by which I mean situations and characters, inclusive) are, to me, compelling. To say that I went into this book with a favorable view of the author would be a gross understatement. I absolutely adore Calvino's work.

Now, I am also discovering that I don't really like many books about writing. Moorcock's Death is No Obstacl
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Jonfaith
Feb 12, 2014 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would not be so drastic. I think we are always searching for something hidden or merely potential or hypothetical, following its traces whenever they appear on the surface. I think our basic mental processes have come down to us through every period of history, ever since our Paleolithic forefathers, who were hunters and gatherers. The word connects the visible trace with the invisible thing, the absent thing, the thing that is desired or feared, like a frail emergency bridge flung over an aby ...more
Sumirti Singaravel

INTERVIEWER: What place, if any at all, does delirium have in your working life?


ITALO CALVINO: Delirium? . . . Let’s assume I answer, I am always rational. Whatever I say or write, everything is subject to reason, clarity, and logic. What would you think of me? You’d think I’m completely blind when it comes to myself, a sort of paranoiac. If on the other hand I were to answer, Oh, yes, I am really delirious; I always write as if I were in a trance, I don’t know how I write such crazy things,
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orsodimondo
Jul 09, 2012 orsodimondo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avrei anche potuto scrivere che si tratta di libro 'in lettura' perché lo si legge e rilegge e consulta, senza abbandonarlo mai.
Nick
Mar 06, 2008 Nick rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who care about literature as a medium
Calvino is just so effortlessly wonderful. He and literature have a very intimate relationship and she tells him secrets about herself that no one else gets to hear. Until now! Calvino spills the beans on what are the qualities he feels are most important to the literature of the future: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, and multiplicity.

I think my favorites were lightness and multiplicity considering that quickness, exactitude, and visibility seem to be very self-evidently positive
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Roberta
Ho avuto difficoltà con Calvino romanziere e avevo timore ad affrontare il Calvino saggista. Invece è stata una lettura stimolate, ricca di riferimenti alle letterature occidentali. Mi spiace non sia riuscito a finire queste lezioni, chissà che altro avrebbe potuto dirci con tanta chiarezza.
Nate D
Apr 05, 2012 Nate D rated it liked it
Italo Calvino, given the meticulousness and conceptual cohesion of his storytelling, is an unsurprisingly lucid theorist as well. Among his final works, these five essays were drawn from lectures he he was prevented from delivering by his death in 1985, each covering a different literary trait he most valued. (A 6th was never written down.) Equally ordered and discursive, each offers insight into Calvino's writing (though much of it this is self-evident in the writing, as well), commentary on li ...more
Jim Coughenour
After posting a couple grumbling reviews, I owe the world of authors some gratitude. I first read Calvino's little book in 1988 and periodically I pick it up and read parts of it again. Six Memos are actually five lectures – illuminating the qualities Calvino most valued in fiction: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility and multiplicity. What's almost miraculous is that Calvino's lectures are perfect examples of the virtues he celebrates – graceful, amused, lustrous with civilized intelli ...more
Cristina - Athenae Noctua
I sei capitoli riguardano alcuni tratti letterari che Calvino ritiene essenziali per la facies della letteratura del Duemila: Leggerezza, Rapidità, Esattezza, Visibilità, Molteplicità e Cominciare e finire. L'autore definisce con attenzione e con esempi chiari e funzionali queste caratteristiche narrative, spesso rapportandole alla propria letteratura, in una cosciente autoanalisi che, però, non è mai di elogio personale. Al contrario, molto dei grandi romanzi di Italo Calvino viene messo sotto ...more
Maria
Apr 16, 2013 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sono insegnamenti, consigli, per gli scrittori, ma anche per noi, per aiutarci ad affrontare la vita in modo più consapevole.
È un saggio molto utile, e molto bello.

Le lezioni, in dettaglio, le trovate sul blog.

http://startfromscratchblog.blogspot....
Fran
Troppo breve, mi sono sentita come se mi portasse per mano indicandomi dove e come guardare.
Mia -
Mar 09, 2011 Mia - rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Leggere “Lezioni Americane. Sei proposte per il prossimo millennio” di Italo Calvino ha avuto l’incredibile potere di farmi sentire una stupida.
Sospetto che per capirlo a pieno avrei dovuto avere una conoscenza più vasta dell’opera di Calvino, di tutta quanta la letteratura mondiale, tutta quanta la filosofia e una notevole destrezza tra i meandri della scienza.

E' un libro ricco, che affascina, che mette in moto il cervello.
E' un libro onesto, che non impone e non insegna, ma propone, getta i se
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Pierre Menard
Feb 25, 2015 Pierre Menard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Who would become a writer
Nel giugno 1984 Italo Calvino fu invitato negli USA a tenere un ciclo di sei seminari presso Harvard: il tema doveva essere la letteratura, ma lo speaker avrebbe avuto piena libertà nel decidere gli argomenti specifici. Come racconta la vedova nella breve premessa, Calvino accettò con entusiasmo e accumulò molto materiale. Sfortunatamente, e non solo per gli studenti di Harvard, Calvino morì l’anno successivo, poco prima di partire per l’America, dopo aver preparato cinque delle sei lezioni. Son ...more
Farhan Khalid
Jan 03, 2014 Farhan Khalid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lightness

I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies. Sometimes from cities

At certain moments I felt that the entire world was turning into stone

With myths, one should not be in a hurry

It is better to let them settle into the memory

It is true that software cannot exercise its powers of lightness except through the weight of hardware

The iron machines still exist, but they obey the orders of weightless bits

Quickness

Death is hidden in clocks

Tristram Shandy d
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Tim
Sep 20, 2009 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had the uncanny experience of having read this book around when it came out and forgotten most of it, yet rereading it is sort of like being under hypnosis, as it essentially embodies a great deal of what I strive for in my own aesthetic and weltanschauung and how I prepare food and live when you get down to it. In his ode to lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, and multiplicity, Calvino dazzles in his apparently effortless incorporation of all of these qualities, even while admitt ...more
Jim
Nov 29, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, essays
I just had the nasty experience of writing a review of this book which Goodreads lost somewhere between the moons of Uranus and the neighborhood of Alpha Centauri. Phoooey!

To summarize briefly, Italo Calvino chooses six (actually five) traits he would like to see carried forward into a millennium which, alas, he did not live to see.It almost doesn't matter what these traits are: It only matters that Calvino took all of literature and examined it through his jeweler's loupe, showing us new relati
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Sara
Jan 31, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Parlare così di letteratura, con un rigore, una passione e una visione tali da lasciare affascinati, è davvero cosa rara. Ed è difficile sintetizzare o anche solo commentare un libro di questa portata, sia per quanto risulta moderno e attuale, sia per quanto queste proposte di nuova letteratura in realtà siano vere e proprie lezioni di vita, dove leggerezza, rapidità, esattezza, visibilità, molteplicità non sono altro che chiavi di lettura non soltanto della letteratura ma della vita stessa. Per ...more
Giovanna
Jul 30, 2015 Giovanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sono pervasa da un senso di gratitudine verso Calvino per le parole contenute in questo libro. Oltre e prima che un grande scrittore, Calvino è stato un eccezionale lettore, nel senso che sapeva comprendere i testi letterari a una profondità che io posso solo immaginare.
Tripp
Jun 18, 2013 Tripp added it
Shelves: nonfiction, essays
Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, and Multiplicity are the five memos Calvino completed for the 1985-86 Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard. He died before completing the sixth memo, Consistency. The five we have are gems, and hopeful ones at that: "My confidence in the future of literature consists in the knowledge that there are things that only literature can give us, by means specific to it," he writes in a prefatory note, and proceeds to describe the qualities he values in ...more
Sandra
Sep 13, 2012 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggistica
Sono le conferenze che Calvino preparò per l’Università di Harvard, che non furono mai tenute perché la morte lo colse improvvisamente.
Ne erano previste sei, ma nel suo dattiloscritto, lasciato pronto sopra la scrivania da mettere in valigia, ne furono trovate solamente cinque, la sesta l’avrebbe scritta negli Stati Uniti, si sarebbe intitolata “Consistency” e di essa Esther Calvino dice che avrebbe parlato di Bartleby lo scrivano. In appendice vi è uno scritto, intitolato “cominciare e finire”,
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Стефан Русинов
За да има литературата смисъл в света, Итало Калвино предлага и прилага шест важни качества, на които се надява писането да наблегне през двадесет и първи век - лекота, бързина, точност, нагледност, множественост и съдържателност.

В “Американски лекции” тези наглед очевидни понятия биват разчовъркани, разпердушинени и разхвърляни, ясните думички стават на пух и прах, преди да станат нещо друго, нещо ново, нещо Калвино. Ерудираността на човека на места ми идва в повече, усещам, че не ми достига ин
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Jason
Sep 30, 2007 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
Calvino nails it:

"It sometimes seems to me that a pestilence has struck the human race in its most distinctive faculty--that is, the use of words. It is a plague afflicting language, revealing itself as a loss of cognition and immediacy, an automatism that tends to level out all expression into the most generic, anonymous, and abstract formulas, to dilute meanings, to blunt the edge of expressiveness, extinguishing the spark that shoots out from the collision of words and new circumstances.
At
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Domenico
Jul 31, 2015 Domenico rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
L’opera intitolata “Lezioni Americane” può considerarsi il Testamento letterario di Calvino. Lo scrittore suggellò la sua straordinaria carriera di scrittore versatile, cerebrale, realista, onirico e adamantino scrivendo una serie di lezioni che egli avrebbe dovuto tenere ad Harvard. La morte lo colse prima e l’occasione di parlare alla Harvard University svanì, ma i suoi appunti furono prontamente raccolti in un libro. Si può dire come in quest’opera l’architetto di mirabili opere letterarie si ...more
Jan Leent
Sep 10, 2014 Jan Leent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, art, literature
"Six memos for the next Millennium" by Italo Calvino is a collection of five Charles Eliot Norton Lectures written in 1985/1986 about what should be cherished in literature with intriguing titles:
1 – Lightness,
2 – Quickness,
3 – Exactitude,
4 – Visibility,
5 – Multiplicity
and the never written memo "6 – Consistency".

In my opinion these lectures transcend “Goodreads”, these lectures are a must-reads for every serious writer and reader!

The third memo by Italo Calvino – Exactitude – begins as follows:
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Lu
Jan 07, 2015 Lu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Di queste Lezioni Americane mi è rimasto impresso il potere che i mondi creati dalla fantasia attraverso l'immaginazione umana hanno su Calvino, e di conseguenza su tutti coloro con cui Calvino interagisce, in un legame che è una sorta di matrioska e da qui torno alla lezione sulla Molteplicità in cui Calvino evidenzia la capacità del pensiero, nel suo più alto ed astratto significato, di travalicare la staticità di una realtà chiusa entro regole e confini precisi prendendo mille forme legate le ...more
Emanuela
La lettura precedente risale a più di vent'anni fa. Nel frattempo ho letto altre opere come "Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore" e "Palomar" che mi risultano adesso più chiare alla luce di questa rilettura.
Di fronte alle riflessioni di Calvino ci si sente piccoli piccoli con la sensazione di essere di fronte all'erudito, mai saccente, che si ascolta a bocca aperta e che fa magicamente apparire vicino a te, come ologrammi, i mostri sacri del pensiero a cui dà voce e il cui compito, eclettico,
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Andrew
It sounds weird and slightly retarded to say it, but Calvino was good with words.

Revisiting a great many themes he discussed in The Uses of Literature, he breaks down what he values in reading and writing, and shows examples of the qualities he admires. Throughout, he's an entirely witty, charming commentator. I mean, the categories for literature that he espouses sometimes seem a wee bit arbitrary, but I didn't really care. He makes his case and makes it well.
Dhandayutha
Jul 07, 2014 Dhandayutha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Believe me i have not read any of Calvino fictions works till now.This is my first read.I really loved it for the very reason for the play of dialectics.He never talks about weight instead he talk about lightness, similarly [Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, and Multiplicity]. As with many authors he never use the code of mysticism, instead indulge in scientific theories to prove his point. That is the factor which interested me, gives the hope that these things are possible.
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Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. He was a journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952-1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If On a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979).

His style is not easily classified; much of his writing has an air of the fantastic
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More about Italo Calvino...

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“I will start out this evening with an assertion: fantasy is a place where it rains.” 62 likes
“Who are we, who is each one of us, if not a combination of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined? Each life is an encyclopedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly shuffled and reordered in every way conceivable.” 49 likes
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